Limoncello and The Best Italian Souvenirs

By Abi King | Food

Oct 28

Lemons in basket Amalfi

Searching for the Best Italian Souvenirs

Lemons. They’re all over the place in the narrow streets of olive and stone-soaked Amalfi. Lemons in baskets. Lemons on walls. Lemon shaped soap and even, if you look hard enough, lemons on trees.

Lemons on aprons, lemons on beads. Lemons on menus and even on cheese.

Yet for all the creative lemonery that Amalfi and its namesake coast inspires, there’s one clear winner when it comes to citrus-swishing indulgence.

And it’s not lemonade.

Limoncello shop Amalfi

Recommended reading: 27 Ways Food and Travel Go Together (Not just for “Foodies”)

That’s right, it’s limoncello, a drink concocted from the core principles of lemonade (lemons and sugar) but brought to Mediterranean life by the cheeky addition of alcohol. Lemon peel (strictly speaking from the lemons of Sorrento only) cosy up to grain alcohol for a while before syrup gets involved and the party really begins.

It’s served as a digestif. And an aperitif. And you’ll also find it in boot-shaped glass bottles with Italia scrawled across.

Limoncello muralBut despite these levels of ostentation, it’s actually refreshingly sweet. Tangy, tasty, twisty. Somehow, limoncello manages to dance around its perceived dalliances with cold and flu remedies and children’s playground sherbet to emerge as a serious alternative to whisky and gin in a gentleman’s oak polished drinks cabinet.

Or so it seems when you’re here.

In the central courtyard of Amalfi, where fountains fizz and flagstones dazzle, fresh and wet beneath the moonlight and the sparkling shadows of the soft summer rain…well, anything sounds like a good idea.

Even a spirit called limoncello. Served in the shape of a boot.

What are the best Italian souvenirs?

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Here are the best things to buy in Italy to remind you of your trip and to enjoy more of the country after you leave.

1 – Something beautiful and fashionable. Preferably in leather or cashmere.

2 – Limoncello, obviously. That should have been at number one.

3 – An intricate Venetian mask.

4 – A vespa. Failing that, memorabilia with one on.

Info, disclosure and all that jazz…

I discovered limoncello in Amalfi thanks to Headwater Holidays who enticed me to this brilliantly beautiful slice of Italian coast with the wholesome promise of walking along it. This I did, in due course, but these tales of lemons and limoncello come from one of the shorter walks. From clifftop hotel to the centre of town on my first night in southern Italy. Salute!

Have you tried limoncello? Love it or…


About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more.

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    I love Limoncello but it gives me major heartburn. Solution? I’m learning to live with heartburn. :)

  • Limencello in Sorrento at 10 in the morning as each shop keeper ‘begged’ us to try there version, made the cobble stones wonky.

  • Sherry Viray says:

    Limoncello in Tuscany in my experience packed a big punch, and you wouldn’t know it until hours later since it taste so tang sweet good … glad you discovered it, too.

  • suresha says:

    Great list of images and contents. i’m very pleasant about reading this topic. thanks for sharing this one.

  • Brian says:

    It is best served chilled and is the second most popular liqueur in Italy. Yum!

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